Our 2022 Global Fellow graduates are stronger together

By Yusuph Masanja, Co-Facilitator of the Global Alumni Network

The 2022 Goldin Global Fellows from diverse backgrounds, representing 13 different countries

Since the inaugural cohort of the Goldin Global Fellows in 2018, the Goldin Institute has evolved the GATHER curriculum to remove barriers to access for grassroots leaders and to augment the pedagogy to work for the realities of our Fellows across the globe. One such development was the ability for Fellows to access the curriculum not only on iPads but on any internet-enabled device or smart phone which is most convenient for them. This change removes a significant barrier for Fellows who reside in remote places and lack reliable access to electricity, wifi and the latest gadget or repair services.

As a Facilitator of the program, our intentionality in removing barriers is why I am such an advocate of the GATHER approach. It is how our network of Alumni has grown to 150 Fellows from diverse backgrounds, including those leaders who are often left out of conferences or trainings, who now hail from over 40 countries. And we are confidently making space for more grassroots leaders to join us. The Community of Practice that Fellows continue to build, one cohort at a time, is proof that building change from the assets we have is a path to meaningful and inclusive progress.

This year we saw our third cohort of Fellows embark on the Global Fellows Program. The 2022 Goldin Global Fellows are 14 bold and wise grassroots leaders from across the globe, including Cote d'Ivoire, North Macedonia, the USA, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Pakistan, Malawi, Bangladesh, Albania, Sierra Leone, and Kenya. Amidst our diversity, we are united by the desire to learn, reflect and implement proven ideas for community-driven social change in our respective countries.

At the graduation ceremony on 4th November, the 2022 Fellows demonstrated their achievements and shared their aspirations. The ceremony began with a message to all Fellows from the Founder and Board Chair of the institute, Diane Goldin who warmly welcomed the new Fellows to the network:

I could not be more honored to have the opportunity to know so many talented leaders and know the innovative results. My congratulations for all your work in achieving your goals and for being a part of our global family. You are appreciated and loved.” - Diane Goldin

At the graduation, Fellows shared moving testimonies of how their five months through the program transformed their worldviews, their grassroots activism, and brought new friends into their lives. As a Facilitator, this feedback is so rewarding, which keeps me motivated to expand the opportunity for even more community leaders around the world. Here are a few quotes from some Fellows captured from the graduation ceremony:

"The process of assets mapping where we identified people, institutions, connections -- and all things which give us life in our communities -- helped us to see the abundance of resources that can be tapped to make progress." - Abdul Rahman Kowa from Sierra Leone.

Examples of asset maps by Fellows in Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and Cote d'Ivoire

Florence Adhiambo from Kenya shared a great insight from what she learned during the program:

"The GATHER curriculum reminded me that leadership is not a position, but rather a commitment to building partnerships and trust with our fellow community members where everyone is aware that everyone has something to contribute."

Examples of Community Visioning Summits which were held in Nepal, North Macedonia, and Zimbabwe.

A key element of the curriculum on the GATHER Platform is the hosting of Community Visioning Summits; these allowed Fellows to share assets they have identified with broader community members, and to use appreciative inquiry to discover aspirations and shared priorities with the community. Central to the GATHER curriculum is the capacity for grassroots leaders to involve the voices of those most often left out in regular community processes and actively remove barriers to full participation. 

In addition to sharing what they learned, Fellows shared key aspirations and next steps for how to collaborate with neighbors and global peers. In one example, Global Fellow Klementina Dobrevska from North Macedonia shared her next steps for addressing the issue of bullying and violence in schools:

Students who have disabilities are faced with a lot of pressure and bullying. Now we are working to promote children’s rights. So far, we have 500 students on board and in our second Community Visioning Summit we managed to leverage a new tool for youth participation which will allow us to get students’ opinions across the country.

As a final step in the Program, all Fellows partnered with their community members to develop a vision and outline next steps they will take to bring these aspirations to their respective countries. We will be sharing Fellows progress with you in the second edition of this article so that you can better understand and support their efforts. We believe everyone can make a difference no matter how small!

In addition to Fellows sharing their wisdom during the ceremony, they also performed poems, and songs, and led a candlelight ceremony. You can watch the entire recording of the graduation ceremony here.

Before closing, our Executive Director Travis Rejman, virtually presented the Graduation Certificates to each Fellow recognizing their successful completion of the GATHER curriculum and invited them to the Global Alumni Network. Staff members shared their messages of congratulations for the Fellows and Travis Rejman closed the ceremony with the following remarks:  

“It’s been an honor to learn together with you over these past 20 weeks. Over the last 20 years, we have been inspiring, connecting, and equipping grassroots leaders around the world so that they can learn from each other and work together to tackle really tough issues that all of our communities are facing. This celebration is a perfect example of what this work looks like in the real world. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work. We are very proud to stand with you and celebrate your accomplishments. We are very excited to welcome you into our global family.” — Travis Rejman.

Flooding in Nigeria Impacts Millions

by Oluchi Achi Uzodimma, 2022 Goldin Global Fellow, Nigeria

Nigeria experienced its worst flooding in a decade this October, resulting in the deaths of at least 600 people. More than 2 million people and 200,000 homes have been affected by the severe floods, according to Nigeria’s humanitarian affairs ministry.


Communities along the River Niger and River Benue have been particularly impacted as water levels rose up to 13 metres, with homes and public buildings inundated. The floods have had wide-ranging effects –from food insecurity to fuel shortages.

Flood menace in Nigeria has become a normal and re-occurring phenomenon which can have devastating impacts on human livelihoods and infrastructural development. Causes of this problem are both local and global; local factors include population density , poor governance, poor drainage facilities and decaying infrastructures and lack of proper environmental planning and management strategies.

On a global scale, climate change and environmental catastrophes, as well as unsustainable human and technological endeavors, have accelerated and amplified the rate of such disasters. The consequences of which see the spread of diseases, loss of thousands of lives from various parts of the country, and properties and homes destroyed.

The floods wrecked and are still wrecking a Farmland which is estimated at $20 million; what is easily Nigeria’s largest private farming enterprise. We are not even talking about the damage to small-farm holders whose livelihoods have also been washed away. Individuals traveling from Lagos to Abuja, a journey which ordinarily takes 10 hours (even at the worst of time) took several days with many people becoming stuck on the road in various ways.

That was only one of the many tales of misery from the current floods. My friends and relatives were also affected by this disaster. My biggest concern is for the children I work with. Their community was equally affected. Some of them lost their parents in the process. The flood separated families. It was like the biblical red sea that got separated into two. Crossing over was a challenge leaving them with no option than to remain where they are.

The floods have severely impacted these children's lives; they are unable to stay in school, their parents have lost their means of livelihood, and their community has no access to good food and other basic necessities.

I regard this as an environmental and emotional trauma.

My team and I have done the little we can to help them out. These children need shelter, clothing, food and education. I wish that the flood will come to an end and normalcy begins.

Peace Day activities from South America

By Lissette Mateus Roa, Co-Facilitator, Goldin Global Fellows

In 1981, the United Nations declared that September 21 would be observed as the International Day of Peace, devoting the day to ‘commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and peoples’. Now, the day is observed worldwide with many grassroots leaders and activists using it as a day to promote their activities and causes. Our 2022 Global Fellows (Spanish Edition) have been doing just that, by utilizing this opportunity to engage with their communities, peers, politicians, and civil society groups to further messages and actions around peace and healing. See what some of them have been up to below.

En 1981, las Naciones Unidas declararon que el 21 de septiembre sería señalado como el Día Internacional de la Paz, dedicando el día a “conmemorar y fortalecer los ideales de paz dentro y entre todas las naciones y pueblos”. Ahora, el día es celebrado en todo el mundo por muchos líderes y activistas de base que lo ven como un día para promover sus actividades y causas. Nuestros Global Fellows 2022 (edición en español) han estado haciendo exactamente eso, al utilizar esta oportunidad para interactuar con sus comunidades, pares, políticos y grupos de la sociedad civil para promover mensajes y acciones en torno a la paz y la sanación. Vea lo que algunos de ellos han estado haciendo a continuación.

Peace agreement progress in Colombia

By Geiner Alfonso Arrieta Hurtado, Goldin Global Fellow from Colombia

For the International Day of Peace, I participated in a discussion on the commemoration of the 5 years of Colombia’s Peace Agreement organised by ONU and Conversa Foundation at the National University of Colombia, in La Paz Cesar. The Peace Agreement in Colombia, signed by the FARC-EP and the national government, yielded great expectations for Colombians to make our dream of total peace come true once and for all. That hope was ongoing for six years, starting with the dialogues in 2012 until the sign off day on Nov 24th 2016. It gave us optimism for the new generations for whom we do not want to inherit the same fifty years of sadness which we endured due to the armed conflict. All those who signed off on the peace agreement believe in stopping the armed struggle and share a desire to see democracy within our politics. We strongly trust in peace in territories where the will of doing things better is present in governors, institutions, and population.

Therefore, it is necessary to stop systematic murders to affected population, social leaders, and peace agreement signatories. Peace is not just about the ceasefire and halting shooting, but it is about personal wellbeing too.

En el Día Internacional de la Paz, participé en un conversatorio sobre la conmemoración de los 5 años del acuerdo de paz en Colombia, organizado por la ONU y la Fundación Conversa, en la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, en La Paz Cesar. El Acuerdo de Paz en Colombia, firmado por las FARC-EP y el Gobierno Nacional, generó grandes expectativas en los colombianos de hacer realidad, de una vez por todas, nuestro sueño de tener una paz total. Esa esperanza duró seis años, desde los diálogos de paz que empezaron en el año 2012 hasta el día de la firma del acuerdo de paz el 24 de noviembre de 2016. Nos dió optimismo para las nuevas generaciones, a las que no queremos heredar los mismos cincuenta años de tristeza que sufrimos por el conflicto armado. Todos los que firmaron el acuerdo de paz creen en la necesidad de detener la lucha armada y comparten el deseo de ver una democracia verdadera dentro de nuestra política. Confiamos firmemente en la paz en los territorios donde la voluntad de hacer las cosas mejor esté presente en gobernantes, instituciones y la población civil.

Por ello, es necesario frenar los asesinatos sistemáticos a la población afectada, líderes sociales y firmantes del acuerdo de paz. La paz no se trata solo del alto al fuego y la interrupción de los disparos, sino también del bienestar personal.

Food, Culture, and Memory for facilitating Peace in Argentina

From Diana Rocio Gomez Torres, Goldin Global Fellow from Argentina

On September 22nd, Trenzar Memorias, Network of studies on memory and culture, carried out a workshop on "Cooking memories: What does what we eat tell us about our society and culture?" within the framework of the International Day of Peace at the Tecnópolis student fair in the city of Buenos Aires. Our objective was to ignite within the high school students the curiosity for cultural studies and about memory from their daily lives; as well as contributing to the construction of peace through the recognition and respect for cultural differences in Latin America".

"Self-recognition and that of cultural differences are fundamental factors to building peace."

Trenzar Memorias, Red de estudios sobre memoria y cultura llevará a cabo el taller “Cocinando memorias: ¿Qué nos dice lo que comemos sobre nuestra sociedad y cultura?” El 22 de septiembre en el marco del día Internacional de la Paz y de la feria estudiantil Tecnópolis en la ciudad de Buenos Aires. Nuestro objetivo es despertar en las y los estudiantes de secundaria de Buenos Aires la curiosidad por los estudios culturales y sobre la memoria a partir de sus cotidianidades; así como contribuir a la construcción de la paz a través del reconocimiento y respeto de las diferencias culturales en América Latina.

"El reconocimiento propio y el de las diferencias culturales son factores fundamentales en la construcción de la paz."

Promoting community dialogue between migrant populations and locals along the Venezuelan-Colombian border

From Natasha Duque Torres, Goldin Global Fellow from Venezuela

“Last week we carried out some activities in commemoration of the International Day of Peace. We visited a settlement in the rural area of Cúcuta, which is a Colombian city which borders Venezuela; here resides a large Venezuelan migrant population living alongside the Colombian population, where both groups have been welcomed and integrated. During the activity, we not only strengthened the construction of peace, mediation, and conflict resolution for the leaders of the community, but we also had a space for recreation with the children to create strategies for them to be the builders of peace in their communities. They called themselves the first brigade of "Guardians of Peace" of the Belén settlement.

The goal of the “Guardians of Peace” is for children to learn about peace and replicate what they have learned at home, so that during episodes of differences or conflicts that arise in their home and their communities they play an essential role to solve conflicts. Fulfilling their dream of being peacemakers.

“La semana pasada decidimos realizar una actividad en conmemoración del día internacional de la paz, visitamos un asentamiento del área rural de Cúcuta, Norte de Santander, el cual está integrado por población migrante venezolana y población colombiana que acogieron y apostaron a la integración.

Durante la actividad no solo realizamos ejercicios de fortalecimiento en construcción de paz, mediación y resolución de conflictos con las lideresas de la comunidad, sino que además tuvimos un espacio de esparcimiento con los niños; Esto con la finalidad de crear estrategias para que ellos mismos sean los constructores de paz de sus comunidades. Durante la jornada, los niños se autodenominaron como “La Primera Brigada de Guardianes de la Paz" del asentamiento Belén. El objetivo de los Guardianes de la Paz es que lo niños aprendan diferentes temas en materia de paz y que puedan a su vez replicar esto en sus casas; así, durante los episodios de diferencias o conflictos que surjan en su hogar y sus comunidades, ellos pueden jugar un papel fundamental para resolverlos. Ellos sueñan con ser forjadores de paz.”

YOLRED Begins Apprenticeship Program for Children Born of War

By Geoffrey Omony, 2018 Goldin Global Fellow, Uganda

We are delighted to announce the launch of YOLRED’s new apprentice program for Children Born of War (CBOW). In the Northern Ugandan context, CBOW refers to children who were born during captivity to combatants under the Lord’s Resistance Army. The war ended over a decade ago, but there are now approximately 6,000-8,000 CBOW living in Northern Uganda, many in Gulu district (where YOLRED is based). YOLRED have carried out extensive activities with the war-affected community, and we have found that what is most required for children born of war is economic empowerment and support. There are organisations conducting research projects and doing advocacy work, like ours, to try and reduce stigma against CBOW on a mass scale, but what is really lacking for CBOW is adequate livelihood opportunities. Even within organisations which try to tackle discrimination against CBOW there is a lack of job opportunities for them.

For this reason, YOLRED began thinking about a new initiative specifically designed to address this gap and to offer a form of economic empowerment which was not being attended to elsewhere, and thus in February 2022, we began this apprenticeship. YOLRED was provided with financial assistance to pilot the apprenticeship program for 6 months, to test the model and assess how it could work in practice. This donation funded the pilot program from February – July 2022; recognizing the importance of this apprenticeship and what it promotes, we have been awarded a grant from the CBOW project to fund this program for an additional year.

“The importance of this apprenticeship and what it promotes has been recognized by the CBOW Project; we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a grant from them to continue this program for an additional year.”

This project was born out of an identified need amongst war-affected youth and is focused on children born of war (who are a category of marginalized youth in Northern Uganda), with greater attention paid to girls who face greater burdens. This program has been initiated to provide a career pathway for these marginalised young people as well as on-the-job training, and ultimately economic and social empowerment. Economic empowerment is the best way to support those most impacted by the conflict, and something we at YOLRED believe is essential to the continuation of a peaceful existence in the region.

The current apprentice, who is a young woman, has been employed with YOLRED since February 2022; her parents are categorized as the formerly abducted, and she was born in captivity. Her parents managed to escape the conflict when she was a young girl, but nonetheless she found reintegration a challenge due to environment she returned to, which stigmatizes CBOW. Of this opportunity, she states the following:

“Being an apprentice at YOLRED is a tremendous and miraculous thing that has ever happened to me. It has empowered me to be able to support myself and my close associates. Many people think that children born of war cannot do anything productive in life as a result of the traumatic experiences we incurred. This job will allow me to prove them wrong because I am able to challenge their negative perceptions about children born in captivity and show the positive ways in which we can work and interact with others, reducing the level of stigma on me and other children born of war. With my experience as an apprentice in mind, I feel any apprenticeship opportunity will be a great help to my brothers and sisters who were also Born of War.”

Having run this program for six months we have recognized its extreme value and importance not just the individual apprentice but for the wider CBOW community in Northern Uganda. Positions like this help to combat stigma against CBOW, especially for girls and women, but can also encourage other organisations and companies to follow suit and offer similar programs.

Extensive research has been done in Northern Uganda to assess the impact of the protracted conflict (which took place from 1987-2006) on children, including children abducted to serve in the Lord’s Resistance Army and children who were born in captivity. Many ex-child soldiers and CBOW who have returned still do not consider themselves free; they remain confined due to post-conflict struggles and excessive stigma and exclusion. As an organization which supports peace in the region, we are particularly focused on providing economic opportunities to those who face stigma or marginalization as a result of the conflict. There is also a lot of intergenerational trauma for children born in captivity who, if their background becomes known, are often labelled the dehumanising terms ‘rebel children’. These children experience a lot of social exclusion and bullying (which can lead to school-dropouts or desire to move to other cities), as they are often not accepted by extended family members and peers. Which is why this apprenticeship program is so valuable and important.

YOLRED adopt a ‘nothing about us without us’ policy and our initiatives are informed by local impact agendas. Our efforts are rooted in the region and led by Acholi people, rather than an approach which is imposed on us, and we centre survivors-needs in all of our programs.

Hands-On Peace: how youth leadership leads to peace 

By Jamal Alkirnawi, 2018 Goldin Global Fellow, Rahat, Israel

"We all feel that the violence in Israeli society is increasing and threatening to get out of control. To prevent this grim scenario, it is not enough to deploy police forces and create deterrence. We must deal with the unrestrained functioning of the social networks that intensify the conflict in general and among the younger generation in particular."

The availability of social networks and electronic devices has created echo-chambers that drastically reduce the amount of information that contradicts and challenges our accepted perceptions. This significant drop in exposure to reliable and critical sources of information affects the youth specifically, resulting in herd behavior of acting without critical and adequate thoughts. This phenomenon can be explained by the growing sense of individualization among the post-1980 generations. These generations are the Y, Millennials, Z, and A generations, which we understand as Gen Y refers to those born between 1980 and 1985;  Millennials were born between 1986 and 1995; Generation Z was born from 1996 until 2010; and the newest generation, generation alpha, are those born between 2010 and 2020s.

The culture of the internet interwoven with traditional beliefs oftentimes creates a contradiction between old and new values. Consequently, the tension we are observing in our Israeli communities in general, and particularly the Bedouin community, represents a period of transition from tradition to modernization. On one hand, our older generation Y group maintains their norms and practices; their traditions. On the other hand as the era of the internet permeates social networks, individualization has rapidly become a symbol of freedom and liberty. This, in turn, shapes the identity, language, and behavior of the members of Arab society. For instance, the usual norm in the Arab community is that families can make important decisions in determining the course of individuals’ lives. However, since the rise in internet usage the dynamic has become less and less reliant on the family and community. Everyone is occupied with his or her own virtual world and unable to create social contacts with outside environments, which is, in this case, their community.

In the recent escalation and the extreme cases of violence in the cities involved, we have seen the extreme consequences of this phenomenon. Teenagers got carried away by a wave of radicalization and instigation; they took to the streets to sow anarchy. Notable cases of this phenomenon are the events of “Operation Guardian of the Walls”, in which violent incidents and large-scale riots took place across Israel in May 2021. Hundreds were injured and three casualties were reported. This was overwhelming proof demonstrating the need to better educate teenage boys and girls to reduce the severe violence and incitement on digital networks.

To address the issue we initiated a new project in 2021. It is operated by the New Dawn Association in the Negev, a Bedouin-Jewish partnership located in the city of Rahat. So far, over 600 students in the Rahat area have been participating and benefiting from the series of educational sessions. We are currently looking into expanding the outreach to include the youth from nearby areas. The project promotes leadership programs and imparting skills to youth in the Bedouin society. Our long-term goal is to develop a generation of online activists who promote respectful democratic discourse and curb the violence and ranting therein.

To do this, we devote a lot of our resources to creating knowledge. We develop a wealth of expertise and tools that help the youth navigate the internet well. These include basic knowledge of principles of democracy, the difference between freedom of expression and incitement/hate speech, and how to create respectful discourses when engaging in online dialogues.

Our initiative of educating the Bedouin youth could not have been rolled out without the support from the partnerships, and foundations that sponsored in each and every capacity. We sincerely thank Eli Hurvitz and Foundation קרן שותפות for the generous and indispensable championship.


Freestyling for Change: inspiring youth in Caqueta, Colombia

By Lissette Mateus Roa, Facilitator, Goldin Global Fellows

We want to share the unique and inspiring journey of twenty-four year old Johnatan Cordoba from Florencia in the Caqueta region of Colombia. Johnathan is a 2022 Global Fellow (Spanish Edition). He is a trained attorney who combines his skills with the arts to support youth development and youth leadership through Flowrencia Crew (@flowrenciacrew).


What we particularly want to share is how the month of August transpired for him. Employment opportunities in Colombia, particularly for young attorneys, are not always easy to obtain. Johnathan managed to secure himself a position as a Municipal Police inspector, in the Municipality of Solita Caqueta, a small town in the south of Colombia. This region has endured armed conflict for the past 14 years, which makes Johnathan’s new position both rewarding and challenging however he is determined to be a role model for other young people.


“The activities that we provide in our community work are opportunities in which young people can be themselves and can express their vision of reality and their perceptions of it. Likewise, we work to generate sharing times to use free time in a good way, encouraging young people with trips and prizes such as: clothing or accessories. In our space we also seek to promote local talent through music, perhaps one day we will have a super star among us. Additionally, we also work with beatbox and at this moment from our territory we have the national champion in that discipline, which is why we are motivated to work with art and hope with it to provide tools for change and opportunities for personal improvement with them. Finally, I highlight the importance of freestyle and beatbox, to release repressed emotions, traumas, stress, and other negative situations that young people acquire from the environment, we work to create safe spaces and an escape door”.


Indeed, alongside his role as an attorney and police inspector, Johnathan believes that music and rapping/freestyling has significant potential for social change among youth. Johnathan’s freestyling recently landed him a great opportunity with a very famous Colombian comedian Lokillo (@lokilloflorez, who has a following of over 3 million people), who is doing a freestyle tour in the country. Johnathan was invited to participate in one of Lokillo’s shows in Florencia, Caquetá. Now, Johnathan’s area of residence (Solita) is not just quite a distance from where the show was being held (Florencia) but the terrain and route is not the most easy. He describes the journey as “going through a marathon” to be able to get to the show in time. Below you can see the journey he undertook followed by his performance on stage with Lokillo.


“It was important to share this stage with Lokillo because he recognized the work done, gave us visibility and he trusted that my talent would impact the audience (over 500 people) who had paid for the show. It was also very important to be able to get in touch with someone who is so relevant in Colombia, who listened to our work and who used his position to make us visible. It was so important that he has been kind enough to help us organize one larger event in our territory which will take place on October 29, in Florencia, Caquetá. His help consisted of motivating the young people in the community and providing us with supplies for the event. It should be noted that for these events we are also using the contributions made by Goldin Institute through 2022 Goldin Global Fellows in Spanish Language. In addition, it is necessary to state that the freestyle events we hold are important to transform my community; Caquetá is an area marked by internal armed conflict, so tools are required that achieve sensitivity in the community. Working with young people is vital, as it gives them a platform to use their free time while keeping them away from violence and other unfavorable environments”.

Unity, Peace and Reconciliation Through Soccer

By Omar Arturo Diaz, Goldin Global Fellow, Colombia

The “Peace and Unity festival” was initiated to use football as a fundamental element to hatch social ties, where different ways of thinking meet to look for new ways of reconciliation, social peace, and unity, so Colombia becomes the country we dream of. This year, we wanted to go further so we included some new activities, including discussion spaces, walking tours through our neighborhood, and of course our traditional “picadito” (local football matches between friends frequently played on non-professional courts). As a dissident family, we appreciate that popular football, peace, and unity need a conscious commitment from players, families, trainers, neighbors, and others who understand territory and sport as political and transforming ventures.


Keeping that in mind, in the last three years we have been developing the festival with the participation of different football, social, and political organizations. Doing so, we have built together a practical space where ideas, actions, and dreams are worked around the ball, encouraging peace and unity.


On 16th August 2022, the festival started with a forum where people gathered into activities, reflections, and ideas around popular football in Bogotá city. As a result, a regional link was built as well as the fostering of relations between participants, through dialogues and the stabilization of a common discourse. We were eager to keep creating dreams and envision a country where everybody can help without being condemned or stigmatized. Once there, we had the company of “Jaguar Rojo” and “Bukaneros”, two football schools that are already known in house.

Together, we looked forward to sharing ideas for what is going to be a new book, the name of which will be “Popular football: stories, actions, and reflections” to be published by our label “Imprenta rebelde”.


For the second day, we knew a lot about the soil situation in Ecuador from an interview broadcasted on “Ecos de Rumiñahui” radio station (fb.watch/fcQ9Ry0Jcy/). We took the opportunity to speak about former festivals as well and expand the discussion around football and its importance to build peace, especially in popular Colombian territories.

On the third day a group of female football players attended the forum, sharing from their title “Rebel football female players: between soccer and the academy”, where they explored the importance of women in popular football, especially against the idea that football is often considered as a masculine expression. These ‘rebel football women’ will also participate with their stories in our already mentioned soon-to-be launched book.


On the 4th day, we launched the first book through our self-management process created at our popular football school “La pelota rebelde”: “La pelota rebelde” publishers. Among other things, the book deals with the experiences of political prisoner and peacebuilder Jaison Murillo. The ceremony was made at the Bogotanian football temple El campín, and its public sports library. There, we had the participation of different points of view and experiences around prison, from people who want to transform the establishment.


The last day was covered by the main characters of our school: children, parents, grandparents, and all family – the rebel family. We enjoyed a kite festival where we tried to build consciousness about the territory around the Bogota River, highlighting that sports can also expose and remedy other issues that impact our town. This beautiful event ended with our traditional “Picadito por la paz y la unidad” (soccer match for peace and unity). We had 16 hours of consecutive football, which meant 17 matches. We also had some cultural events, where musical bands and artistic groups met at a local town court to declare peace and unity as fundamental to building the Colombian nation, the one we all dream of.

Social Movements and State Violence

By Diana Rocio Gomez Torres, 2022 Goldin Global Fellow, Argentina

Last Thursday, August 25, we held the discussion “Social Movements and State Violence: past and present” organized by Trenzar Memorias, Memory and Culture Network in Latin America and the Caribbean. The discussion took place at the Institute for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (IEALC), attached to the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. We set ourselves two objectives: first, to discuss the role played by the indigenous movements of the Andean region of Latin America and to evaluate the repression that the State carried out against the Guatemalan indigenous people during the 1980s. Second, to discuss the social mobilizations that have taken place in Chile and Colombia between 2019 and 2021, as well as evaluating the place of the State and its response to these mobilizations.

The discussion 'Social Movements and State Violence: Past and Present' is of interest to the academic community and to Latin American society in general because it allows us to reflect on the reconstruction of our recent past and find democratic solutions to the social crises of our present. -- Diana Rocio Gomez Torres, 2022 Goldin Global Fellow, Argentina

As Trenzar Memorias, we wanted to discuss the emergence of social movements in different countries of the region and the political changes that have been generated in recent years. We believe that reflection and visibility of the history and memory of these social movements are necessary, as well as the strategies of symbolic resistance that are facilitated by our cultures.

In the discussion we had the participation of three scholars who have researched the characteristics of social movements and State violence against civilian populations. Dr. Laura Sala spoke to us about the role of the State in the Guatemalan genocide. Dr. Pablo Bonavena established the relationships between the State and Social Movements throughout the history of the 20th century in Latin America. And finally, Dr. Bruno Fornillo spoke about the Indigenous movements of Ecuador, Mexico and Bolivia. and their actions during the 20th and 21st centuries.

One of the conclusions of the conversation is focused on characterizing the relations between the State and social movements, which can be understood using ‘Pacification theory’, which guides the actions of the State and also accounts for the limits of its domination when a revolt or social outburst arises. It is through this ‘pacification’ that the State builds mechanisms of domination over citizens to make social injustice tolerable. In this way, when social movements arise that claim new demands or the expansion of social or economic rights, that ‘pacification’ is called into question; and so the State's response is violent and repressive. That is to say, the emergence of social movements shows a crisis between the domination of the State and an intolerance for social injustice that until that point was allowed. Hence, the need to silence those dissenting voices of the leaders of social movements by the State, or the need to sit down and discuss the construction of a new margin of tolerance of social injustice with these actors.

To hold the event, we had the institutional support of various academic entities such as the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico, the master’s degree in Social Studies in Latin America (MESLA), the Study Group on Culture and Media in Latin America (GECUMESAL), the Institute of Studies on Latin America and the Caribbean (IEALC), the Group of Studies on Central America; the latter four belonging to the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

The discussion is related to the dossier proposed for our third magazine Trenzar Memorias, which bears the same title "Social movements and state violence: past and present." In the following link you can find more information about the Network https://trenzarmemorias.org/

Meet the 2022 Goldin Global Fellows (Spanish Language Cohort)

By Lissette Mateus Roa, Co-Facilitator, Goldin Global Fellows

The Goldin Institute is proud to introduce the inaugural Goldin Global Fellows (Spanish Language Edition)! We invite you to learn about each of the outstanding Goldin Global Fellows who live and work in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Spain, the United States and Venezuela. This diverse group of fellows will learn and work together as a Community of Practice, building on the talents of their neighbors and the assets of their communities to make real and lasting change around the world.

The idea to have a Global Fellows program for Spanish speakers was suggested by 2018 Global Fellow Lissette Mateus Roa from Colombia who is the lead facilitator for this cohort. Lissette recognized that her home country of Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries to be an activist or social leader, and where solidarity and collaboration with other grassroots leaders and change makers was critical. We are proud to launch our first ever Spanish language cohort to expand the reach of the Goldin Global Fellows community of practice. We are excited to see what the Fellows achieve together.


The Fellows are learning together through GATHER, which is both a mobile platform for shared learning and a curriculum for people who want to build on the talents of their neighbors and the assets of their communities to make real and lasting change. Gather Fellows learn and work together through an innovative curriculum that comes pre-loaded on a tablet device with all the connectivity, materials, videos, practices and tools necessary to provide a mobile classroom and toolkit for community leadership.


The Goldin Global Fellows connects and equips grassroots leaders across the world to lead community driven social change. The 2022 Goldin Global Fellows is the first international Spanish language cohort to utilize the GATHER platform, an online learning hub built by the Goldin Institute to empower grassroots leaders. They will engage in a 22-week course of intensive shared learning as well as group projects, culminating in a graduation event in December 2022. The curriculum has been designed and refined in collaboration with the Fellows themselves, based on their practical knowledge and hard earned wisdom, with input from a wide range of civic leaders. 

To follow along the learning journey with the Goldin Global Fellows, please sign up for our newsletter and follow up on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Swingset Activism: The Promise of Social Justice Education Inspired by Childhood

By David C. Metler, 2022 Goldin Global Fellow

“Swingset activism asks us to close our eyes and feel that exhilarating liberation you feel as a child on a swing soaring to new heights, perspective, and possibilities.”

Confucius once said that “we have two lives, and the second one begins when we realize we only have one.” I am convinced that social justice education has two awareness deepening lifecycle journeys. The first begins when you connect your personal experience to a systemic level and the second one begins when you realize social justice begins with childhood.

Integrating the Two Journeys

My first formal social justice education experience involved volunteering as a part of the Pangaea World Service Team in Nicaragua when I was a college student at the University of Michigan. It devastated me to learn about the leading role the US has played historically in keeping Nicaragua in poverty. I experienced what Bobbi Harro calls a “critical incident” which “creates enough cognitive dissonance that a change is initiated within the core of a person about what they believe about themselves”. Paulo Freire calls this “conscientizacao” – a transformative process from object to subject that lit my soul on fire for social justice.

Upon returning from this trip, I joined the social justice education University of Michigan’s Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR). Through social justice dialogues, I began to develop critical consciousness around identity, power, privilege, and oppression across personal, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic levels. An IGR mentor told me that there was a book, Parenting for Social Change by Teresa Graham Brett that would “blow my mind.” It completely did.

In bringing together parenting and social change, Teresa integrated her previous social justice education experience around identity and power (being a past co-director of IGR at UM) into her relationships with children. Teresa approached her relationships with children as a personal arena for practicing social justice which was integral to her pursuit of justice in the world. Her book helped me begin to see how a transformation of childhood could transform the world as I realized that there were profound lessons from the wisdom of children and childhood experiences that were invaluable for social justice education and activism.

For more than ten years I have worked with leading child and family activists from across the globe and since 2020, I have created the original concept of Swingset Activism which is currently being studied with a grounded theory approach through creative social justice education with the next generation of changemakers from across the globe. Swingset activism asks us to close our eyes and feel that exhilarating liberation you feel as a child on a swing soaring to new heights, perspective, and possibilities. Swingset Activism is a new type of activism inspired by childhood. There are many types of activism like environmental activism, relational activism, consumer activism, or design activism. Each offers a specific approach and focus lens to changemaking. Swingset Activism is activism generated by love that is integrative, relational, and imaginative. Swingset Activism brings together Ecological Systems Theory (Integrative), Relational Activism (Relational), and the Inner Child (Imaginative). It centers the significance of transforming childhood in activism as a strategy to maximize personal, social, and global transformation.

Swingset Activism brings forth a new level of awareness which catalyzed my search for my own authentic voice at the root of my passion for social justice. As I meditated on finding my inner child’s authentic voice for social justice, what came up for me is the earliest experience of being in the womb is lived experience of the profound interconnection and interdependence of human nature, and for the first few years of infancy there is no “other”. This is important to remember in pursuits of solidarity and partnership in social justice. It is our true nature. It is our original sense of inter-being that acknowledges that all of our liberation is bound together. Through the integration of these insights and practices the elasticity of my own mindset expanded of the whole world being one family and that children are, as Carol Stack would say, “all our kin”.

Understanding the wisdom of my inner child also brought back memories of having a clear, innate sense of right and wrong as a child. This recollection reminds me as an adult that the pursuit of social justice is not performative, but intuitive and relational.

Activism as Relationship

Swingset Activism offers the insight that not all activism is done by “activists.” In their seminal academic article, “Relational Activism: Reimagining Women’s Environmental Work as Cultural Change” Sarah O’Shaugnessy and Emily Kennedy introduce the term “relational activism” for how we approach our personal and private lives that directly affect social change. Relational activism captures the behind-the-scenes, private sphere, community-building work of activism and highlights the importance of community, networks, and communication in contributing to long-term social change. Relational activism values public and private sphere actions equally while honoring the moments of social justice that happen within daily routines and in daily relations with others. For activism to be innovative and to generate a sustainable lifestyle, it needs to live within everyday moments of relationship, especially in building equal power relationships across social identity differences.

I believe that for activism to be integrated into a lifestyle it needs to relational and embrace elements of playfulness, joyfulness, loving-kindness, presence, creativity, and our capacity to re-imagine what’s possible. The process can then match the goal of social justice from integration of these valuable ways of being that children embody most regularly into activism. Audre Lorde says, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” which calls upon our imagination and creativity in approaching social justice. I believe it acknowledges the wise contributions of children and childhood experiences in activism. It also serves as a reminder of the solidarity and sacrifice of children and youth literally being on the front lines of social justice movements throughout time, which is not credited since history is typically told by adults.

Intentionally approaching integrity in activism also requires looking critically at what I call the “activist paradox” exploring the ways in activists unconsciously recreate systems of oppression, linked to experiences of oppression in childhood within social justice efforts. Paying attention to these paradoxes will highlight the continual inner work adults need to do to heal their inner child. From reflecting on my childhood, I am able to begin a process of integration that allows me to link the change I wish to see in the world; in myself and my daily routine, ways of being, and relations with others. I have learned to view activism in a relational way that practices social justice in everyday moments, with change happening at the speed of trust, and inner and outer change being interdependent across levels.

Imagining a Transformed World

As an activist, there is a desire to see clearly the roots of injustice and oppression so that efforts to create change actually transform the systems of oppression and not just the symptoms of oppression. It is known that the nature of oppression is non-hierarchical and intersectional but less known is how oppression is foundational in childhood. The wisdom of the science of relationships has revealed how our earliest relationships set a blueprint for relationships over the lifespan.

Since the oppression of children is the earliest, most normalized, and rationalized form of oppression; it provides the foundation for other forms of oppression because the first relationships in childhood root initial experiences with the common elements of oppression. These common elements of oppression are core to adultism, (the supremacy of adults over children), and underlie oppression in any form:

(1) a false notion of superiority across an identity difference becoming seen as an inherent belief that one identity group is superior to another and

(2) this belief being enforced as justification for the superior group to normalize its power and control over the other to maintain its superiority.

Adultism sets an invisible infrastructure for other socially constructed power-over divides across social identity to find deep hold, especially because children face the oppression of adultism with the least control and capacity to resist or language to make sense of the experience. Oppression then becomes internalized and normalized and the oppressed then become the oppressors, but oppression can be uprooted with the unlearning of adultism and the empowering of children, which is called childism, similar to feminism but for children.

Potentially, the most promising aspect of Swingset Activism, which focuses on social justice beginning with childhood, is that oppression is not only foundational in childhood it is notably the one oppression that all adults have common experience with – although there is difference in how adverse childhood was, everyone experiences adultism in some form during childhood. For example, despite increasing awareness of the commonality of Adverse Childhood Experiences, ACES, the overall experience of childhood involves a lack of control and domination over children by parents, teachers, and a larger institutional and societal culture of adultism. Because all adults were once children and still carry their childhoods within them, the convergence of adulthood and childhood can be comprehended in the mind and the profound interconnection of adult and inner child felt in body.

This shared experience presents an opportunity like no other for interest convergence, a concept that posits that there will only be social justice progress when it is perceived to be in the mutual interests of both the privileged and the oppressed. Unlearning adultism may provide the simplest convergence of mutual interest across a social identity power divide because it so plainly illuminates how deeply our liberation is literally bound up with one another and how adults and children are equal partners in the pursuit of social justice. Adults cannot be truly free until children are free, and until adults heal their inner child from the internalized oppression of their own childhood.

Swingset activism asks us to close our eyes and feel that exhilarating liberation you feel as a child on a swing soaring to new heights, perspective, and possibilities. As Teresa Graham Brett wisely reminded us, we can in full swing begin to “imagine a world where mistrust, power-over dynamics, domination, and oppression no longer exist because children have never experienced them.” We can begin to create a new story of childhood that creates lasting social justice and the transformation of what is possible.

If you would like to be a part of the founding of the Swingset Institute, please contact me at davemetler@gmail.com!


David Charles Metler

2022 Goldin Global Fellow

Founder, Inner Passport